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"Heaven's Fire" by Cairistiona
The lightning crackled with endless fury.
Nick woke from his nightmare.
The water felt good on his face, freezing cold. It should have woken him up, but he still felt the grogginess of early morning sleep. Slicking his now wet hair back, Nick looked at himself in the mirror wondering who he was, where he was, and what on Earth was he looking in the mirror for? He shook his head, murmuring to himself, "that felt weird."
Jumping into the shower he let the water flow over his body until it felt numb, realizing this wasn't working either. Towel drying himself off and quickly getting dressed, he guessed he'd have to start the morning off groggy, it would probably clear as the day went on.
The clock read two-thirty AM.
Nick walked out of his room and found the nearest window. It was dark and cloudy. The storm raged on.
Feeling lost and almost embarrassed, he progressed back to his room and flopped down on the bed. he fell asleep instantly.
Outside the castle, small cries of a struggling teenager could be faintly heard. She looked above her into the furious clouds that shook and rolled with unnatural rhythms. Cursing at the storm she pushed herself above the blasting wind and grabbed the next rock along the island's weather worn rim. Determined, she climbed further up and continued to find new hand holes until she reached the top. Fighting the tempest the girl finally rolled herself onto flat and stable ground, just as lightning spoke the storm's fierce protest. It hated her, she could feel it, but she had won, or so she hoped.
Struggling to her feet, she turned to look up at the gigantic castle. "Wow!" The girl stumbled her way up to the front door, the ground creeping closer as she did. "No," she murmured, trying to stay conscious. The door suddenly appeared in front of her and she reached forward, hitting the bell. It only half sounded.
Leaning heavily against the thick strong oak doors, she felt her vision failing and reached up for the bell once again. this time holding it as long as she was physically able. The world clouded and her strength failed.
Derek heard the ring the second time through and slipped out of bed. Alex met him out in the hall. "Who could it be?" She questioned, but Derek just shrugged and they made their way down stairs. Alex glanced out the side window but could only see a part of the person leaning on the door. "Derek." she said concerned.
He nodded, "I know," and opened the door, catching the teenager's ailing body as he did.
The girl suddenly reached up and gripped Derek's arm. Rising from her black sleep for a few brief seconds.
"The tempest..." she whispered, unable to finish.
Alex closed the door just in time as lightning struck the house, causing the lights to flicker. Derek looked down in shock as he felt an electrical surge pass through him and into the young girl in his arms. She didn't stir.
The defining thunder rolled above.
"How long has she been like this?" Rachel asked as she examined the sleeping girl. Derek had already taken a look at her, but he wanted a second opinion.
"Since she appeared on our door step about three this morning," Derek told her from where he stood at the end of the bed. Alex was watching from a chair on the other side.
Rachel looked at them startled. "She's been asleep this whole time? It's almost noon!" Neither Derek nor Alex replied. Turning back, Rachel commented, "well, I can't find anything wrong with her."
"That was my assessment, too."
Rachel gave him a look of 'so why am I here?' type thing but instead asked, "how on Earth did she end up on Angel Island?"
Alex stretched back stating, "good question!" Standing up and feeling antsy she looked at them with a puzzled expression on her face. "I haven't seen Nick all morning, I wonder where he is."
"He got in late," Derek replied nonchalantly.
Alex's face scrunched up, "I'm going to go see what he's doing."
"Good idea, he should know what's going on, too," Derek called to her as she was leaving the room. Then he turned his attention back to Rachel and the girl.
"It's not like as if she's in a coma," Rachel commented with only the slightest hint of her usual droll humor. "Would you like for me to wake her up?" Derek merely nodded. Rachel barely had to touch her this time before the girl woke with a start.
"Where am I?" She demanded sitting up and shifting back as she became aware of their presence.
"You're on Angel Island," Rachel began.
Derek finished, "at the Luna Foundation." He then asked, "Do you remember how you got here?"
The girl looked around lost but then said in a soft and hesitant voice, "I remember the storm, but before that, I don't think I can remember anything."
"How about your name?" She shook her head no.
Rachel spoke up, "it will come back in time. If you can remember last night then your amnesia's probably only temporary."
"Until you can remember though," Derek said gently, "we need something by which to call you. What's the first name that comes to mind?"
She returned the answer to his question so fast it was almost as if it had been an instinctual reaction. "Philip. Oh, but that doesn't work, does it?" She was very highly distressed by what she had just said.
Derek and Rachel exchanged startled looks and Derek asked, as if out of pure curiosity, "why did you say the name Philip?"
"I don't know, it just popped out."
"All right. How about if we call you Jane?"
The girl nodded soberly.
Alex knocked at Nick's door but there was no response, so she went right in, and stopped. Nick was still fully clothed, and in short, dead to the world! Smirking, Alex shook him awake.
He woke to her very insistent prodding's by spanning his arms out as if to steady himself, mumbling, "Earthquake?" Then he opened his eyes and looking at Alex momentarily confused, asked, "is it morning already?"
Alex laughed. "You've slept through morning, Nick!"
"Oh." Getting up he stretched and rubbed at his eyes.
Alex sat down on the bed but then stated, "Nick, your pillow's all wet and damp!"
"Oh," he repeated. "I'm going to change into some fresh clothes. Meet you down stairs."
"All right, but just so you know, we have a visitor. "Don't know who she is, but she somehow made it to the island early this morning, without conventional means."
Nick just looked at her as if his brain hadn't as yet registered the words she had spoken. Shaking her head, Alex just stated, smiling, "I'll see you later," and left.
The girl stood staring out the window. Derek walked back up to stand beside her. "Remembering something?" He asked mildly.
"No," the girl answered, "sorry."
Derek smiled comfortingly. "Don't worry, it will come back to you."
Alex walked up to them, also gazing out the window. Night had begun to fall. She spoke softly to Derek, "he just radioed in, but he might not get a window in this storm for quite some time." Alex paused. "Why didn't you send Nick with the helicopter to pick him up earlier?"
"I haven't been able to find him," Derek said simply.
Alex looked at him startled. "I know I woke him up at lunch. Are you going to fly over?"
Derek shook his head. "No. We'll wait for the storm to calm down a bit first."
Just then Rachel walked in with a peculiar look on her face and asked, "do any of you know why Nick's crashed out on the couch in the living room?"
Alex chuckled. The three adults turned to leave, but Derek turned back. "Jane?"
"I'm coming," she said quietly, still gazing out into the raging storm. It gave one last rumble and the clouds separated to let a single ray of light penetrate through. Satisfied, she turned to leave as well.
Derek met Philip at the dock. He looked up at the sky. it was still dark and brooding, but the clouds had stayed pretty silent for the last hour and the waters were still. A soft rumble reverberated over head. Derek greeted Philip with a smile. "How was the trip?"
"Fine." The tempest greeted Philip as well with a sudden crackle of light and noise. A soft rain began but quickly crescendo. Philip glanced up at the sky uneasily.
"Let's get out of the rain," Derek suggested.
Philip didn't protest and they headed for the castle. Shielding himself from the rain's onslaught, Philip yelled over the thunder above, "this storm isn't natural!"
They slipped inside the front door, and shaking the water from his coat and hair, Derek replied with a droll voice, "tell me about it!" They gave their coats to a servant and headed into the heart of the castle. "I'll take you to see her. Do you think you might know who she is?"
Philip glanced over at Derek, seeing his intent look. Philip looked away, answering, "th' description you gave me doesn' fit anyone I know."
They entered the dinning room where Alex, Rachel and the girl waited. Philip stopped, astonishment covering his face, but he quickly erased it, going unnoticed by all but Derek who watched closely. The girl got up and approached Philip. "Do you know me?"
"I'm sorry," Philip said with a deep sadness, "I can not help you." He turned to leave but she grabbed his arm holding him back.
"Your name is Philip, isn't it?" She asked insistently.
Answering with a simple, "yes," he pulled away.
Lightning struck the house, the lights briefly flickered once again.
Derek turned to chase after Philip but ran smack dab into Nick. Nick teetered back, shaking his head, stunned. Derek glanced down the hall seeing Philip disappearing around a corner and not wanting to loose him told Nick to "stay here. Don't move!" And hurriedly headed in Philip's direction.
Nick nodded in reply to empty air holding his head with one hand, and slandered across the hall into the next room.
Derek finally caught up with Philip and pulled him into the room with the piano Derek so often played. "You do know who she is, don't you?"
"No," Philip said, anger rising in his voice. "I can't help her!"
"Can't or won't?" Derek asked darkly.
A new and unseen shade of dark anger engulfed Philip's face as he locked eyes with Derek. Philip stormed out of the room. Derek let him go.
Outside three bolts of lightning struck the water simultaneously, lighting up half the sky.
Derek only saw the after effect and headed back to the dining room, but when he got there only Rachel remained.
"Alex took her to get some sleep. You could probably use some, too," Rachel told Derek meeting him at the doorway.
Derek just ignored her suggestion, instead asking, "where's Nick? I told him to wait here!"
Rachel shrugged. "Let's go find out." They found him sleeping in an awkward position with his legs over an arm of one of the Victorian chairs in the parlor. Derek was about to wake Nick up when Rachel stopped him.
"Derek, look at his eye. It's bruised."
Brow furrowing up in worry, Derek replied, "I didn't think we'd hit that hard." He shook Nick's shoulder. "Nick! Wake up!"
Nick eye's flew open and his body tensed. "Earth..." He noticed them and sighed heavily.
"Are you all right?" Rachel asked him.
"Ya, I'm fine. Just tired."
Rachel looked at Derek concerned and turning back to Nick said hesitantly, "yes, sleep is a good idea."
Then Derek added suggestively, "but how about if you do it in your bed? It would probably be more comfortable."
"Good idea," Nick mumbled and twisting his way out slandered on past them.
When he was gone Rachel collapsed into the chair. She looked up at Derek. "What did you find out from Philip?"
Derek shook his head. "Nothing. He knows her, he just won't say so."
"Well maybe things will settle out after everyone's had a good night's rest."
Derek smiled at her getting the hint and said, "okay," and together they walked out of the room.
They were talking about Kat's progress in school when Rachel suddenly stopped and looking up at the staircase stated, "Derek."
Nick sat nestled in a ball with his back against the railings two steps before the first landing. Derek bounded up the stairs but slowed when he got close enough for the light snore to become audible. he was all out laughing by the time Rachel got there.
Derek quieted but the smirk on his face hadn't left. Their noise had woken Nick up with a jerk. He shifted positions. Rachel and Derek gasped.
"Oh my gosh!" Rachel exclaimed kneeling down beside Nick and touching the bloody spot of hair on the right side of his head. He flinched away.
"What happened?" Derek asked.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Nick grumbled, curling up into a tighter ball. "I just want to sleep."
"Come on," Derek said to Rachel. "Let's get him to the Control Room."
They tried to help Nick get to his feet but he protested loudly. "I can stand on my own you know!" So they let him, and he stumbled up the stairs reaching the top only a meter a way out of pure luck. "See!" He stated sleepily and turned right.
"Nick," Derek called out to him. Nick turned and looked down at them. "The Control Room's in the other direction." Nick looked ready to respond to that but forgot what he was going to say and merely walked the way they were pointing. Derek and Rachel exchanged looks, each baffled.
The girl woke with a start and staring wide eyed into the dark stated out loud, "I remember my name!" It excited her and scared her at the same time.
The lightning lit up the room, illuminating the shadow of another presence, but it was quickly gone again. She jumped out of bed and raced into the next room running straight into Alex.
"Wow! What's wrong?" Alex asked catching her.
The lightning hit the house with a blasting fury.
"Alex, I remember my name! It's Stephanie!" She exclaimed.
"Where's Philip?" Stephanie asked with great urgency. "He's in danger!" She didn't have to say anything more as Alex immediately took her to go in search of him.
Eventually Philip had made it back to the room with the piano, it was the only room that revealed so much of the outside world. Philip stared out into the raging storm. He was in turmoil and thinking himself to be alone spoke out loud as if to the tempest itself.
"Why now? After all this time?!" He began to pace but stopped short as a voice echoed his name through the room. Two straight bolts of lightning hit the nearby water.
Philip only saw a shadow before the lightning surged through his body and the blackness over took the light.
"No!" Stephanie called out as she and Alex arrived just in time to see him collapse to the ground. They rushed over and shook him. He awoke with only a few prodding's.
What happened?" Alex asked after having looked around and finding no one else there.
"I'm not too sure," Philip murmured not meeting their gazes.
"Guess what, Philip," Stephanie suddenly said watching him intently. "I remember my name."
"That's great," he replied in a neutral tone of voice.
"It's Stephanie, Stephanie O'Connel."
Philip looked up at her and their eyes locked. He quietly stated, "it's good that you're starting to remember things, it should come back to you faster now."
"It's a start," she told him simply. Philip broke the gaze.
"Does this hurt?" Rachel asked prodding gently at that patch of hair on Nick's head. She had cleaned the blood off but hadn't been able to find any cut or wound at all that would have caused it to bleed like that.
Nick tried pulling back again but Rachel didn't let. "Yes," he complained. "Stop it!"
Finally satisfied Rachel turned to Derek. "Still nothing, but it is slightly soft in that area. What could have happened?" She asked.
"I don't know," Derek merely said and as one they looked at Nick but he was already in a soft slumber with his hand supporting his head as he leaned on the computer table. "How does he do that?" Derek softly questioned.
"This is all too strange." Rachel put her hand on Nick's shoulder. he came awake instantly, his eyes wide with brief terror and his body swaying slightly as if off balance. "Nick, what is happening to you?" Rachel tried for the fifth time that night.
Nick just made himself comfortable again and mumbled, "I don't know what you're talk..." a soft, barely audible snore finishing the sentence for him.
The zapping noise of someone entering the room made Derek and Rachel turn their attention away. Alex walked in.
"Where's Jane?" Derek quickly asked.
"With Philip, and her name is Stephanie O'Connel," Alex replied.
Derek questioned, "did Philip finally say something?"
"No, she remembered it on her own. What is going on with him anyway? Something attacked him only ten minutes ago but won't even tell me what it was!"
"I have a feeling our mysterious guest was brought here to visit not us, but Philip," Derek mused.
Alex suddenly noticed Nick there for the first time and inquired, "what happened to him?"
They looked back at the sleeping form, taken back by what they saw. Nothing much had changed but he now had a split and bleeding lip. Rachel's head momentarily sank into her hands. "How can these marks just keep appearing on him like this?!"
"What's wrong with him?" Alex tried again.
Derek shrugged and told her honestly, "we don't know. Your guess is as good as ours!"
Just then Nick woke up on his own and stretching slightly, questioned during a yawn, "are we finished here?" No one replied so he took that as a 'yes' and stood up saying, "good! I think I'm going to go and make a pickle and cheese sandwich." He shuffled out of the Control Room.
"Go with him," Derek quickly told Rachel.
"Right," Rachel said as she left in hot pursuit.
"Pickles and cheese?" Alex questioned.
Nick had been serious and now champed down on his sandwich as he put things away. Philip walked in, still brooding but when he saw Nick's condition he was over taken by concern and habit. He walked up to Nick and grabbing one of his shoulder's forced him to look up to get a better view. "What happened to you?"
Nick gave him a sarcastic look and pulled away, angrily stating, "I could ask you the same thing!" Nick meant it as if to say 'I'm normal, aren't you?' but Philip took the words to heart and was taken back by the blunt blow. He only then realized Rachel was also in the room, leaning against the wall with her arms crossed and giving him the look. He felt the old anger rise in him once again.
"What?!" Philip demanded of her.
"Oh, nothing," she said lightly, too lightly and then added coldly, "I was just wondering how a Jesuit priest can lie." Nick suddenly left the room. "Nick!" Rachel snapped. "Get back here!" Her patience was wearing thin with all this.
Upset by what she had just said Philip blocked her way and stated, "I don't lie!"
Rachel looked at him, dead in the eyes. "Lying and denying the truth are the same thing, Philip!" She pushed past him but Nick was already gone.
The storm raged on outside, the sound of the thunder growing louder and louder as it went.
"Here we go," Alex said. She and Derek were sitting at a terminal. They had pulled up everything the computer could spit out on any Stephanie O'Connel who might have been born up to twenty years ago but couldn't find anyone who fit Stephanie's description. So Alex went back another twenty years, just on a hunch. She found what she was looking for and said after skimming. "Died at age seventeen from getting struck by lightning in an electrical storm. It doesn't give much more than that." She switched screens. "Wait, she lived in the same area Philip is from. They would have been about the same age at the time." Alex looked up noticing movement in the corner of her eye. "Derek."
Turning, Derek looked to the wall that the painting stood on the other side of, and to Stephanie who now stood in front of the wall as if she could see in. To their shock she lifted a hand and first touching the holographic painting stepped through. The alarm didn't go off and the electrical field had no effect on her at all.
She began speaking to them as if she was consumed with memories flooding back all at once. "The tempest was everywhere but he still led us out into it. Called us chicken when we didn't want to go. He took us to the graveyard. We were idiots for following him. Our parents thought we were in bed, but we weren't, we should have been. No one knew we had left."
"We?" Derek asked softly.
"Me and my sister."
"What happened?" He asked keenly but as gently as possible.
Tears began to wield up in the girl's eyes. "We were just kids. We didn't know what the words meant. It really wasn't Philip's fault! It was the storm's fault! It took us, at the graveyard." She began crying harder now and Alex immediately went to Stephanie's side, enwrapping the girl in her arms.
Lightning once again stuck the castle and flickered all power, even in the Control Room.
"Take care of her," Derek ordered Alex. "I'm going to go and find Philip. This needs to come out in the open. Now!"
Nick actually sat in one of the chair's in the gigantic dining room rather than on top of the table. One of the servants was polishing the furniture and dispite leaving it till last, finally just cleaned around Nick's cradled head in arms resting on the smooth surface. The servant left as Derek followed the agitated Philip in.
"We need to know what the ritual was you were performing that night," Derek told him again.
"I don't know! It was almos' twenty years ago!" he pulled out one of the chairs and slumped down, wringing one hand through his hair. "We were just kids. I had stolen th' scroll from th' church archives. All I knew is that it had been a scroll of incantations in some strange language."
"Do you still have it?"
"No," Philip said sadly, "I lost it after," he stopped unable to finish. Looking up at Derek, Philip told him solemnly, "until now, I've never told anyone. After it happened, I was so freaked I just ran and later blocked it out completely. I never told anyone it had been my fault."
Derek would have negated that but Philip's name was suddenly echoed through out the room and a ghostly apparition appeared. She was similar in appearance to Stephanie and most likely the alleged sister.
The apparition's name touched Philip's lips. "Irene," he whispered.
Irene's face was contorted with anger and she bellowed, "you killed us, Philip!" Raising her hand lightning suddenly shot out hitting Philip. He stumbled back clutched his chest, Derek catching him before he could fall.
Stepping in front of Philip dispite his protests, Derek used himself as a shield. He turned to the girl boldly stating, "he was young, we all make mistakes. He's suffered enough, I won't let you have him." The girl snarled at Derek.
Lightning struck putting the lights out for a good half a minute. She was gone when they came back on again.
Philip moved back to his chair, saying, "she has every right ta blame me."
"No, she does not," Derek told him sternly. "And your death will not make up for it. Any of it!"
Philip heard the words but didn't really believe them. his eyes shifted over to Nick who hadn't woken once since they'd arrived. "When did Nick get a tattoo?"
"What?" Philip showed Derek the small marking visible on Nick's arm. It was of a little flying green dragon, small and almost unnoticeable. "Help me get him back to the Control Room. I don't want to leave him here alone." They prodded and poked but Nick didn't want to go with them and eventually Philip just picked Nick up over his shoulder and carried him.
"Hey! Put me down!" Nick weakly protested but was soon fast asleep again with the swaying motion as they walked.
"How did you think of this?" Rachel asked Derek. They were all in the Control Room now trying to solve both enigmas.
"I have an idea that the same electrical power surge that brought Stephanie and Irene here is the same that's effecting Nick. It wasn't until I saw the tattoo that I realized that what's happening to Nick probably happened to someone else who had been disturbed from their eternal slumber."
Rachel shook her head trying to sort it out and cope with that in her mind. She had trusted Derek enough times in the past to know she should trust him now.
"It's looks like your hunch was right," Alex stated looking up from the monitor. "A John Rudney bares the tattoo marking and was reported missing about a week ago."
Thoughtfully, Derek reached over and touched Nick. He jerked, unbalanced. "John?" Derek questioned.
Nick looked at him with a lost expression on his face but answered, "what?"
"Where are you?" Derek turned to Alex. "Bring up a road map of California." She did, putting it on the big screen. Derek looked back at the now curious Nick and asked. "Where were you heading?"
Looking bewildered, Nick slowly got to his feet and stumbled over to the screen. Slowly tracing his finger along one road as it traced up into the mountains, he suddenly stopped and tapped the map stating matter-of-factly, "I'm here!" But then turned back highly confused.
"Well that's one solved," Alex commented and would have looked to Philip and Stephanie but they were gone.
Will you stop following me, I don' wan' you to get hurt again!" Philip told Stephanie as he entered the piano room and turned to face her.
Stephanie laughed ironically. "Philip! I'm already dead, or don't you remember?" She wished she could take those words back as a deep gloom covered Philip's face.
The storm outside began to heighten and three bolts hit the castle right after each other, the deafening thunder screaming over head.
Irene appeared, smiling impishly. "You know your fate, Philip!"
"And I accept it." Philip walked to meet her in the middle of the room.
"No!" Stephanie intervened. "We had just as much choice as he did, we didn't have to go! You can't blame him for this!"
"I agree!" Derek proclaimed as he and the rest of Legacy arrived.
"No!" Irene screeched and sent lightning out hitting and pushing them to the ground. All except Stephanie and Nick. Seeing that she hadn't succeeded she tried again and again at Nick but it did nothing. Shrieking in her frustration she demanded, "why doesn't it work?!"
Brow furrowing, Nick finally stated, "I think I'm dead, too." Then he plainly stated, "what you're doing is wrong."
"He's right, Irene," Stephanie reinforced. "Look at Philip, he's already atoned for his sin." She could see the hesitation on her sister's face and feeling confident put her hands on Irene's shoulder saying with complete sincerity, "let us pass on. Only we can end our own torment."
Irene looked fiercely down at Philip not wanting to believe her sister's words. Philip was on his knees doubled over in pain, but he found enough strength to gasp out, "Irene. Please, take me, I can't live with it anymore!" He looked up at her pleading. Feeling a wetness in her eyes, she suddenly lost all desire for revenge. Irene knelt down close beside Philip and whispered, "we all make mistakes, things happen."
"But I shouldn't be alive," Philip objected.
Irene stole him a smile, "I haven't been here long, but I have a feeling you've done and are yet to do much more good, than you've ever done wrong." She stood up then to face the others, gazing into her sister's eyes. A soft smile formed on her lips. "All right. I'm ready to go." A white light enveloped her.
Philip struggled to his feet and said, "sorry," to the disappearing form.
Irene's smile broadened. "I know," and she vanished in speckles of white light as she transcended.
Then Stephanie turned to Philip also smiling. "It was nice seeing you, Philip, and maybe I'll see you up there, but hopefully not for a long time," she added quickly. Stephanie flashed him a grin, saying, "I always knew you'd grow up handsome!" Philip couldn't help but return a smile to that one and with that Stephanie went the same way her sister did.
When she was gone Philip turned to Nick as the rest were getting back to their feet, stating, "Nick. You're not dead!"
"Oh." Nick crumpled to the ground.
The storm outside rumbled softly now and began to dissipate, its strength gone and spent.
She showed Nick and Alex the picture of the teenage young man, her son, John. "He wasn't always the best behaved kid, but I loved him," Mrs. Rudney told them. She smiled oddly. "He always had a thing for pickles."
"And cheese," Nick added with out really thinking about it. Mrs. Rudney looked at him oddly and Nick, realizing he'd slipped, smiled and stated, "you can't have pickles without cheese!"
"We should be going," Alex said standing up and saving them from any further questions. They all got up and Mrs. Rudney thanked them again for finding the crashed car in the mountain paths.
"It's just such a relief to know what happened. And now we can put him to sleep properly," she said as they stepped outside.
Nick grinned. "I know he'll appreciate that very much." They said their good byes and Alex and Nick walked down the driveway to his mustang parked below.
Opening the door, Alex suddenly asked over the hood of the car, "what was it like?"
Nick thought about it for a second then replied, "you know how they have out of body experiences?"
"Well I guess you could call this an in body experience." He smirked and got in, Alex following shortly after. Nick turned the engine and they drove off under the clear blue sky above.